“I ain’t marching any more”

November 6, 2010 at 7:00 am | Posted in Department of Defense, Reality Bites, terrorism, torture | Leave a comment
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Who is David Margolis?

February 20, 2010 at 5:01 am | Posted in Judiciary, law, politics straight up, torture | 2 Comments
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Hahahahaha!

Many errors found in Department of Justice mural. Washington, D.C., Aug. 17. Aides of Attorney General Cummings are taking great delight these days in criticizing the realism of several of the murals which ... Boughe, New York artist painted for the new Department of Justice building. Miss Margaret Burgess, a sightseer, points to the Statue of Liberty which was painted facing shoreward instead of seaward other glaring errors showed a convict facing four members of the Federal Court of Parole, although actually he faces only one in real life, a fire starting in a large city, although Federal Investigators work only on arson cases on Indian Reservations, 8/17/37

Despite the headlines you’ll see, the report from the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) did not in any way clear Yoo or Bybee. It recommended referral to state bar disciplinary authorities by whom Yoo and Bybee are now licensed.

The OPR report concluded that “two key authors—Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor—violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics.

Who is this man who is protecting John Yoo and Jay Bybee by blocking the Justice Department from making referrals that could result in their disbarment and loss of their current employment?

I used the Google and here is what I found:

It appears that Margolis has been used on a number of occasions to clean up a mess for the Justice Department. In March 2007 Margolis defended the firing of one of the nine US Attorneys at about the same time that Monica Goodling hit the front page. Some apparently took it for granted that because he was not a Bush hire, he was “clearly a ‘Clean’ player.” I would have to agree with those less inclined to view him so favorably.

His participation in the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman seemed a bit stinky:

After ethics complaints were brought to the Justice Department, Leura Canary was nominally removed from the case. But in a circumvention of normal Justice Department rules approved by Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis, she was allowed to pick one of her deputies to manage the case against Siegelman in her stead. Canary represented to Congress that she removed herself from the case “before any significant decisions” had been reached. Now internal communications have been disclosed within Canary’s own office calling into question these claims.

(Two earlier articles here and here.)

As to Margolis, it seems to me that he had an assigned role here — to provide a veneer of respectability to an expediency. We are left with the question: why is the Obama administration once again protecting members of the Bush crime family?

UPDATE: Isn’t it lovely that the Obama administration had someone with credibility already in the DOJ to whitewash the final results.

“OPR’s own analytical framework defines ‘professional misconduct’ such that a finding of misconduct depends on application of a known, unambiguous obligation or standard to the attorney’s conduct,” [Margolis] wrote. “I am unpersuaded that OPR has identified such a standard.”

The investigation was apparently political theater, perhaps to mollify those calling for investigations that will not happen during this administration of crimes committed by the Bush administration. They should have saved themselves the trouble.

UPDATE: “Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) has forwarded materials on the writing of the torture memos to state bars where John Yoo and Jay Bybee are licensed, calling on the bar association to consider possible disciplinary action, Nadler’s office announced today.

Chilcot Hearings on Iraq War

January 29, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Posted in Bush, Foreign Affairs, Historical, terrorism, torture | Leave a comment
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Ctesiphon, the imperial capital of the Arsacids and of the Sassanids, was one of the great cities of ancient Mesopotamia, now Iraq. c1932 (Library of Congress)

Wufnik at Scholars and Rogues has been doing regular posts on the goings on at the Chilcot hearings on the Iraq war that are well worth a read.

The first post in which Wufnik talks about the inquiry is Christmas music (9)–Best English folk/indie/whatever Christmas album, then Stout Denial, More Chilcot, Blogging Blair and Blogging Blair (2).

The British Government has a website for the Iraq Inquiry that has video, transcripts and background documents.

Waterboarding: Not As Much Fun As It Sounds

May 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm | Posted in torture | Leave a comment
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Who was authorizing waterboarding in 2002, before the Justice Department memos were written?

(NPR) One source with knowledge of Zubaydah’s interrogations agreed to describe the legal guidance process, on the condition of anonymity.

The source says nearly every day, Mitchell would sit at his computer and write a top-secret cable to the CIA’s counterterrorism center. Each day, Mitchell would request permission to use enhanced interrogation techniques on Zubaydah. The source says the CIA would then forward the request to the White House, where White House counsel Alberto Gonzales would sign off on the technique. That would provide the administration’s legal blessing for Mitchell to increase the pressure on Zubaydah in the next interrogation.

Am I missing something?

May 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm | Posted in Bush, torture | Leave a comment
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Print shows a mob pouring tea into the mouth of a Loyalist who has been tarred and feathered. Behind the group, on the right, is the Liberty Tree from which hangs a noose and a sign Stamp Act written upside down; on the left, revolutionaries on a ship pouring crates of tea into the water.  Copied on stone by D. C. Johnston from a print published in London 1774, published Boston : Pendleton, 1830

Print shows a mob pouring tea into the mouth of a Loyalist who has been tarred and feathered. Behind the group, on the right, is the "Liberty Tree" from which hangs a noose and a sign "Stamp Act" written upside down; on the left, revolutionaries on a ship pouring crates of tea into the water. Copied on stone by D. C. Johnston from a print published in London 1774, published Boston : Pendleton, 1830

Why has the last week of “news” been taken up with the burning question of what Nancy Pelosi knew about the Bush torture program?

Isn’t the real question, what did George W. Bush know about his torture program?

America’s Opportunity

April 25, 2009 at 9:22 am | Posted in Bush, torture | Leave a comment
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Naked young women being brutally tortured by Spanish Inquisition.  Photogravure after Jose Brito, copyrighted by G. Barrie & Son, c. 1901.

Naked young women being brutally tortured by Spanish Inquisition. Photogravure after Jose Brito, copyrighted by G. Barrie & Son, c. 1901.

As things currently stand, there will be no investigation or prosecution of crimes committed by the United States Government over the past eight years. That there are any Americans who do not consider this outrageous is hard for me to understand.

Paul Krugman had an editorial in Thursday’s New York Times which you should read but I append here Mr. Krugman’s addendum from his blog:

One addendum to today’s column: the truth, which I think everyone in the political/media establishments knows in their hearts, is that the nine months or so between the summer of 2002 and the beginning of the Iraq insurgency were a great national moral test — a test that most people in influential positions failed.

The Bush administration was obviously — yes, obviously — telling tall tales in order to promote the war it wanted: the constant insinuations of an Iraq-9/11 link, the hyping of discredited claims about a nuclear program, etc.. And the question was, should you stand up against that? Not many did — and those who did were treated as if they were crazy.

For me and many others that was a radicalizing experience; I’ll never trust “sensible” opinion again. But for those who stayed “sensible” through the test, it’s a moment they’d like to see forgotten. That, I believe, is the real reason so many want to let torture and everything else go down the memory hole.

Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

People who spoke against the use of torture, when not “treated as if they were crazy,” were ignored and their statements suppressed and destroyed.

If America does not investigate and prosecute war crimes committed by its own government, the terrorists will have indeed won and there will be nothing left of a once great dream that we are a people of laws and high moral ideals.

Five hundred years later people have not forgotten the Spanish Inquisition. Do Americans want this as their legacy?

Torture Is Not That Hard To Recognize.

April 24, 2009 at 9:42 am | Posted in Bush, torture | Leave a comment
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Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Media Matters – Lawrence O’Donnell, J…", posted with vodpod

Torture is a criminal act.

April 23, 2009 at 11:18 pm | Posted in Bush, torture | 2 Comments
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If you’re not willing or able to read the Bush torture memos, at least listen to this song. YOUR GOVERNMENT engaged in this behavior. Your tax money paid the salaries of torturers, those who ordered the torture and those who “legalized” the torture, one of whom is currently a sitting Federal Judge.

If the Obama administration fails to investigate and prosecute these crimes, every member of the administration, including President Obama, will be as culpable as if they had participated directly and America will remain under a moral cloud.

What Are We Defending?

April 20, 2009 at 4:36 pm | Posted in Department of Defense, Economy, torture | Leave a comment
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M-4 tank, Fort Knox, Kentucky.  1942 June.  Alfred T. Palmer, photographer.

M-4 tank, Fort Knox, Kentucky. 1942 June. Alfred T. Palmer, photographer.

(DemocracyNow) A new study, meanwhile, from the National Priorities Project says that more than thirty-seven cents of every income tax dollar goes to military spending. By contrast, environment, energy and science spending projects split 2.8 cents of every tax dollar, while housing, community and food programs split 3.8 cents.

(WaPo) The Obama administration opposes any effort to prosecute those in the Justice Department who drafted legal memos authorizing harsh interrogations at secret CIA prisons, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said yesterday.

Hopes Raised, Dashed.

April 13, 2009 at 11:23 pm | Posted in Bush, Department of Defense, Foreign Affairs, law, torture | Leave a comment
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Justicia - Justice stands blindfolded as people around her are being tortured.  Pieter Bruegel (1525-1569), artist

"Justicia" - Justice stands blindfolded as people around her are being tortured. Pieter Bruegel (1525-1569), artist

Scott Horton at The Daily Beast:

Spanish prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo, several reliable sources close to the investigation have told The Daily Beast. Their decision is expected to be announced on Tuesday before the Spanish central criminal court, the Audencia Nacional, in Madrid.

[snip]

The six defendants—in addition to Gonzales, Federal Appeals Court Judge and former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, University of California law professor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, former Defense Department general counsel and current Chevron lawyer William J. Haynes II, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff David Addington, and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith—are accused of having given the green light to the torture and mistreatment of prisoners held in U.S. detention in “the war on terror.”

[snip]

The Bush Six labored at length to create a legal black hole in which they could implement their policies safe from the scrutiny of American courts and the American media. Perhaps they achieved much of their objective, but the law of unintended consequences has kicked in. If U.S. courts and prosecutors will not address the matter because of a lack of jurisdiction, foreign courts appear only too happy to step in.

I am having a hard time believing that anyone will prosecute the bastards, but the Spaniards give me hope.

It’s more than sad that an American should feel more hopeful at the effectiveness of a foreign legal system than their own.

h/t Hilzoy

UPDATE (4/16/09): It looks like my small hope has been dashed, at least for now.

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